The Kutztown School Board approved the final proposed budget with no tax increases and an estimated deficit of $60,000 for the 2022-23 school year.
With revenues of $35,031,361 and expenses of $35,691,112, property tax is expected to remain at 29.9543 mils.
Prior to the 8-1 vote, council members debated a tax increase to cover the deficit.
Al Darion said his biggest concern was a $420,000 shortfall from this year.
“I’m very worried that we’re going to go from one year to the next year’s deficit,” Darion said. “We managed to go 6 or 7 years without a tax increase even though many of those years had a deficit budget, but either we had unexpected (revenue) or less expenses and we were lucky. Last year we were unlucky.
Darion warned that continuing to run a deficit budget will reduce the fund balance very quickly.
In favor of a $0.6 million tax hike, which was later not passed, Darion said the average homeowner would pay $60 more a year and cover much of the shortfall in $420,000. He thinks a $60 raise shouldn’t be too difficult financially.
During public comments, Jennifer Kaufinger of Kutztown wanted the board to consider this when developing its final budget.
“What we heard is that what you are approving tonight is nothing like the final budget,” she said. “One of the board members suggested that a tax hike for Kutztown residents wouldn’t be a problem since he got a raise. An overwhelming majority of people in this district are currently struggling beyond belief. Having trouble deciding whether to buy food or gas, how they are going to get their children from one place to another. It’s a real fight right now and it’s only getting worse. We cannot afford any tax increase.
“Find out how to responsibly spend taxes, ESSER funds and any other funds you receive. Do it responsibly and act like every member of this community should. You earn as much money, you spend as much money. When you don’t, you quit,” Kaufinger said. “Find out how to spend it wisely. Don’t raise our taxes because we can’t handle it.
Board Chairman Randy Burch believes that between Access funds, ESSER money, and increased state district funding would not raise taxes.
The budget will be discussed in more detail at the next budget and finance meeting.
In other news, The board has appointed Elizabeth A. Siteman to serve as treasurer of the Kutztown Area Principals’ Council for the 2022-23 school year with a $1,050 stipend, at the same rate as the previous years.
Under Curriculum, the board approved the proposed partnership with Truth Initiative for curriculum and programs to support vaping awareness and prevention.
“I just want to publicly thank Kutztown Strong for partnering with us and connecting us with the Truth Initiative for college programming,” Superintendent Christian Temchatin said.
School administrators met with Kutztown Strong, Kutztown police and Mayor Jim Schlegel to address the vaping problem in Kutztown, he said.
A number of projects have been approved for facilities, which will be funded using district funds set aside for building projects, council treasurer David Miller said.
High school floor
The board approved the deal with Division 9 Contract Flooring to repair the cafeteria floor at the Kutztown area high school at a cost of $5,605 to be completed over the summer.
“There are tiles in the middle of the cafeteria, the floor is heaving,” said board member Michelle Batz, member of the facilities committee. “Tiles are shattering, so there are remedial measures for safety concerns of children tripping over broken tiles.”
While excavating a section of the ground to determine the source of the problem and develop a plan to prevent it from happening again was discussed at length during the committee meeting, Batz said the committee felt that repairing the ground was the best step forward from a cost and safety perspective. The administration was instructed to investigate before the floor was repaired.
“The belief is that it’s at the water table and it’s right in the middle of the high school cafeteria, it’s going to have a significant cost,” Temchatin said. “It’s not anyone’s favorite project; every five years we will have to spend money to fix it again. We didn’t get a direct quote on what it would cost to dig it up, but it’s going to be extremely expensive even to find out what the real source is to develop a plan to fix it.
A KHS basketball backboard winch system has been approved for CM Eichenlaub Co. to install wirelessly operated backboard winches at a cost of $23,808.
Currently, a staff member must hold the backboard and use a drill to manually move the basketball nets up and down. She said there were concerns with the outdated system, noting reports of injuries from other locations.
“It’s not a safe system to use,”
A wireless system uses a remote control; just press a button to move the basketball nets.
high school doors
Another security issue is the number of different keys needed for the school door locks.
“In a panic situation, that’s not an ideal number of keys to fumble around to find the right one to open a door,” Batz said.
There are 97 doors that need to be rekeyed for there to be a master key to high school.
“We felt that from a safety point of view, this is something that we cannot overlook. It comes at a significant cost, but we really need to make sure it gets done eventually. »
All 97 door locks need to be replaced to bring them into line with the district system.
“High school has a variety of different keys while other schools have a standard system so (high school locks) all have to be made to comply with that system,” Temchatin said.
“It’s just parts of high school; there are portions that already have that lock,” Batz said.
York County-based AG Mauro Company assessed each door in the building and determined which locks needed replacing to match the majority of door locks already in place, Batz said.
The board approved an agreement with the AG Mauro company to replace the locks on the secondary school doors at a cost of $64,460 as a capital expenditure. This includes locks for 97 doors and labor for installation.
Prior to the vote, it was questioned whether the district had requested quotes from other companies and an Allentown-based company was suggested, but Miller noted the district could only use COSTARS vendors, which is the program state cooperative purchase.
Temchatin said the district had used AG Mauro for all of its locks in the past and it was the company that rated the school’s locks.
“By lock, this is the best price we could get from AG Mauro,” Temchatin said. “We now get a lot of quotes that everyone considers to be excessive, but it concerns our personal lives and our professional lives. We have seen that the cost of performing the work is increasing every day.
“There is a lot of work to identify areas of need in the district and a lot of work to find quality suppliers,” Temchatin added. “When money is wasted, that’s when the wrong job is done. By using suppliers we know, we know the quality of work that will come out of it. This is why we use the COSTARS suppliers that we have used before. »
Mowing the school campus
The council has approved a deal with Kohler Landscapes, Kutztown, to mow and trim properties in the district as needed this summer.
Batz said the district got other quotes but there was no availability on their schedules.
“We’re in a situation where we’re understaffed and we just don’t have the staff to be able to mow all the grass in the district,” Batz said.
Temchatin noted that four summer employees were also approved (at the meeting that evening) to cut the grass and plans are in place to mow Maxatawny on a weekly basis.
Young people are also encouraged to apply for lawn mowing jobs, for which the district has received a few applications, but more are welcome.
“You may have noticed in Cougar Prints and in text messaging that the administration has gone out of its way to let people know that this is a great summer job for kids 16 and older to be hired by the district to helping with lawn mowing is an opportunity for students,” Batz said. “They don’t have to be in the district.”
“We are finding ways to fragment some properties throughout the summer,” Temchatin said, adding that Kohler Landscape would fill the void.
The district would be billed for each time Kohler Landscape mowed grass on a property. Each cut would be at the request of the district.
“Honestly, we are grateful to Kohler Landscapes for providing us with this flexible deal,” Temchatin said.
“Then they will come when needed; they are on call,” Dennis Ritter said.